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Nigeria: TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Overview: Decaying infrastructure is one of the deficiencies that Nigeria’s National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) seeks to address. The government has begun to repair the country’s poorly maintained road network. Because Nigeria’s railroads are in a parlous condition, the government is trying to rectify the situation by privatizing the Nigerian Railroad Corporation. Similarly, the government is pursuing a strategy of partial port privatization by granting concessions to private port operators so that they can improve the quality of port facilities and operations. Nigeria’s airports and civil aviation system have a poor reputation for efficiency and safety, and government-owned Nigerian Airways is struggling. In the telecommunications sector, mobile telephones are more widely disseminated than landline phones, and Internet use revolves mainly around cybercafés.

Roads: Nigeria has roughly 113,000 kilometers of surfaced roads, but they are poorly maintained and are even cited as a cause for the country’s high rate of traffic fatalities. However, in 2004 Nigeria’s Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) began to patch the 32,000-kilometer federal roads network, and in 2005 FERMA initiated a more substantial rehabilitation. The rainy season and poor equipment pose challenges to road maintenance.

Railroads: As of 2003, Nigeria’s poorly maintained rail system had 3,557 kilometers of track, 3,505 kilometers of which were narrow gauge and the remainder, standard gauge. The country has two major rail lines: one connects Lagos on the Bight of Benin and Nguru in the northern state of Yobe; the other connects Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta and Maiduguri in the northeastern state of Borno. As of March 2006, Nigeria and Niger expected to move forward with plans to establish a rail link between the two countries. Nigeria is also seeking a rail link with Cameroon, but discussions are more contentious in the aftermath of the International Court of Justice’s October 2002 verdict in favor of Cameroon on the issue of control of the Bakasi Peninsula. In order to remedy the poor condition, efficiency, and profitability of the nation’s railroads, the government is seeking to privatize the Nigerian Railroad Corporation. Under the privatization plan, three separate concessions of 25–30 years would be granted to private-sector companies to run railroads in the western, central, and eastern regions.

Ports: The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) is responsible for managing Nigeria’s ports, which have fallen behind international standards in terms of the quality of facilities and operational efficiency. Recognizing that the government lacks the funding and expertise to modernize facilities and run the ports efficiently, the NPA is pursuing partial port privatization by means of granting concessions to private port operators. Under the terms of concession agreements, the government would transfer operating rights to private companies for a finite number of years without forgoing ownership of the port land. Nigeria’s principal container port is the port of Lagos, which handles about 5.75 million tons of cargo each year. The port, which consists of separate facilities at Apapa and Tin Can Island, has a rail connection to points inland. Port Harcourt, a transshipment port located 66 kilometers from the Gulf of Guinea along the Bonny River in the Niger Delta, handles about 815,000 tons of cargo each year and also has a railroad connection. Both ports are not only responsible for Nigeria’s seaborne trade but also serve inland countries such as Niger and Chad. A new port is under construction at Onne about 25 kilometers south of Port Harcourt. Relatively modern and efficient terminals managed by multinational oil companies handle most oil and gas exports.

Inland Waterways: Nigeria has 8,600 kilometers of inland waterways. The most important are the Niger River and its tributary, the Benue River.

Civil Aviation and Airports: Nigeria’s principal airports are Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos and Mallam Aminu International in the northern state of Kano. Three other international airports are located in Abuja, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt. Overall, Nigeria’s airports, whether international or regional, suffer from a poor reputation for operational efficiency and safety. Private domestic air carriers have won business at the expense of Nigerian Airways, which is government-owned and suffers from financial and management problems.

Pipelines: In 2004 Nigeria had 105 kilometers of pipelines for condensates, 1,896 kilometers for natural gas, 3,638 kilometers for oil, and 3,626 kilometers for refined products. Various pipeline projects are planned to expand the domestic distribution of natural gas and to export natural gas to Benin, Ghana, Togo, and, potentially, even to Algeria (where a Mediterranean export terminal is located). Energy pipelines are subject to sabotage by militant groups or siphoning by thieves.

Telecommunications: Television and radio broadcast stations currently operational in Nigeria are as follows: 83 AM, 36 FM, and 11 short-wave radio stations and three television stations. Recent information on the number of radios and televisions is not available. In 2005 Nigeria had only about 1.8 million Internet users, many of whom relied on equipment at cybercafés. Internet hosts totaled 1,535. In 2004 more than 9.1 million mobile cellular telephones and 1 million mainline telephones were in use.







PUBLISHER / AUTHOR: This series of profiles of foreign nations is part of the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The profiles offer brief, summarized information on a country's historical background, geography, society, economy, transportation and telecommunications, government and politics, and national security. In addition to being featured in the front matter of published Country Studies, they are now being prepared as stand-alone reference aides for all countries in the series, as well as for a number of additional countries of interest. The profiles offer reasonably current country information independent of the existence of a recently published Country Study and will be updated annually or more frequently as events warrant.




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